(International Living) I was sitting across from a young go-getter at a trendy sushi spot in the cool part of town. Let’s call him Bob. “I’ve been looking for a condo—as an investment and to live in for a while,” said Bob. “I think I may have finally found the right one.”
He had come across a property of just over 1,000 square feet near the posh Coco del Mar district…for $250,000. Thankfully, the sale fell through.
You see, Bob thought he’d found a bargain. However, he hadn’t thought to ask for a local’s input. It’s a mistake expats often make.
The apartment wasn’t a penthouse nor did it seem to offer anything special. Doorman, social area, pool, gym, nice lobby…many buildings offer these little luxuries and at much lower prices.
I told him to talk to his local friends next time; people who have nothing to lose or gain from his purchase. A local might have told him to first check a website that caters more to locals than expats. For example, www.CompreoAlquile.com lists apartments in his preferred locale from $105,000.
Coming from a Canadian city where a beginner condo could cost double the figures he was being quoted, Bob confessed that $250,000 had seemed cheap. “I really like Panama, but I am not saving as much as I thought I would here,” he added.
I hear this all the time, and it pains me. The point is to get down here and enjoy watching your money go further. So before you spend on big-ticket items—or even little ticket ones—ask the locals what they think.